Northwest Minnesota Foundation lends helping hand to housing programs

With the housing market becoming tighter as laborers move in to work on the Line 3 replacement, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation is working to provide resources to entities in an effort to maintain stability. Applicants for the program have until 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18 to apply.

Northwest Minnesota Foundation web art

BEMIDJI -- The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has established a new grant program based on requests from entities that work to provide housing to families.

The effort comes as those stakeholders prepare for an influx of laborers working on Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline replacement , which may make housing options more scarce. According to a press release from the NMF, individuals and families who struggle to find housing are going to be competing in an already tight market against high wage workers.

"This is a more recent development," said Cory Boushee, a program officer for the NMF. "We heard from stakeholders in our region that they're unable to find hotel rooms and landlords willing to work with them because of the perceived influx of Line 3 workers coming in and paying a higher dollar than their programs can afford."

The release states the NMF will grant up to $30,000 to innovative strategies designed to create or maintain available housing for those hardest to house in regional communities. The grants will be available to 501c3 nonprofits, as well as tribal and municipal governments in the 12 counties of northwest Minnesota. Grant amounts are anticipated to be between $5,000 and $10,000.

"Finding ways to get creative with this funding to make sure there's space available for when people fall on hard times is important," Boushee said. "Our stakeholders are very concerned that they may not be able to access typical resources. It could be a price increase or it could be a situation where there's no vacancies."


Possible strategies the grants will cover include paying increased rent costs, encouraging shared housing and contracting with hotels. Applicants for the program have until 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18 to apply.

Those who submit will be required to demonstrate how the influx of workers from the Line 3 project has, or will, impact the housing available to those hardest to house in the entity's community.

"We're going to ask what your program is going to do and how you will measure success," Boushee said. "We'll then accept the final applications, and we have a smaller review committee that will make the decisions on who we can fund and how much we can offer."

For governments or nonprofits to apply, Boushee said to visit and click on the "open grant rounds" tab to access the application section. Additionally, those interested can contact Boushee's office at (218) 759-2057 or at

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